Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The New Brooklyn
When is was seven years old, my family moved to Brooklyn from Chesapeake, VA. We were to spend a few years there while my father pastored at a local Baptist church. I cried for almost two months straight every night as I lay in my brooklyn bed trying to fall asleep but instead drenched in a dizzying melancholy for the lost evenings of southern living, the sounds of crickets and still country air replaced by the din of sirens and choking exhaust fumes. Contrary to the popular slogan, I hated New York. Particularly, the Crown Heights Brooklyn neighborhood, we now called home. Luckily, by the end of our first year in the big apple, I was pretty well settled in and actually came to love the walks with my brother to the corner pizzeria for a fat slice and an Italian ice. After all those years, I can't believe I choose to come and live in Brooklyn and also how much the city has changed.
My siblings and I went to school at the old Brooklyn Armory, which was then the independent African school, Uhuru Sasa. The area surrounding Flatbush is fast becoming gentrified and filling up with trendy shops and restaurants. One of my favorite spots to grace the BK is Habana Outpost. Only open during the warmer months, this pavilion of local artists, musicians and foods is a true gem.
Another Fort Greene charm is The Greene Grape. I love the Olive Bread here and the fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music is a so rich with performances, exhibits and shows.
Walking along Flatbush Avenue towards the Brooklyn Public Library provides a grand tour of the chic restaurant invasion. Not long ago, this strip was home to many a mom and pop caribbean joint. Not so much now.
Don't misunderstand. I am not being a hater. I love all the choices that abound. Even though the merits of a good chana roti can never be denied. Now we have Thai.
Local and Organic.
And Fair Trade.
The gates of Prospect Park have never felt so, well...full of prospect.
With the Botanical Gardens just up the road and all the wonder inside its expanse.
This library, the one I frequented so many days with my family as a little girl, still packs a huge punch of welcoming glory.
Coming back to an historic Brooklyn brownstone after a day out on the streets is always a treat. Add to that a fresh salad with the local greens scored today and you have a perfect day in the new Brooklyn, sans tears.